FAQ: From 'iPhonies' to iFacts, we answer your iPhone questions

When it comes to Apple's popular phone, people ask the darnedest things

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But what about those for whom this was their first Apple mobile device? They bought their iPhone, plugged it into a computer without iTunes and...nothing happened. What usually followed was a panicked phone call to an IT department or an Apple Genius Bar. (After getting just such a call, I instructed my boss to install iTunes, then plug in the iPhone.) iTunes is pretty much required. There's no getting around this if you're setting up a new AT&T account.

I have heard complaints from some Windows users who claim to loathe iTunes, and after seeing the Windows version, I understand. The Windows version feels more sluggish then the Mac version. There are some ad hoc ways of avoiding iTunes, but I haven't tried them and can't vouch for them.

My advice: If you find yourself with an iPhone, the easiest way to start enjoying it is to stop resisting iTunes.

I don't want to buy a phone from a company that's going to stop selling the device because it's not selling well. Then buy an iPhone. Apple isn't going to stop selling one of the hottest, game-changing devices to come along in years. You've been listening to Ballmer again, haven't you?

Steve Ballmer said the iPhone wouldn't gain any market share. Stop right there. If you're reading about the iPhone or any Apple product and the article quotes any of the following people — MarketWatch columnist John Dvorak, analyst Rob Enderle and Ballmer — consider the article null, void and useful only as satire. Just do a Google search of their names and "Apple," and you'll understand why.

Isn't that the phone that costs $500 a month? Wait, let me get my jaw off the floor. Short answer: No. Now, it is true that the iPhone isn't subsidized (at least the current generation isn't), so there is no discount on its cost. If you want the 8GB version, you pay $399; if you want the 16GB version, it's $100 more. They are currently out of stock right now at Apple's online store, and supplies are tight worldwide, leading to speculation that Apple is preparing the next-generation iPhone for release in June.

As for AT&T's voice and data plans, they start at $59.99 for 450 daytime minutes, 5,000 night and weekend minutes, 200 text messages and unlimited data. This also includes the standard rollover minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes. The plans go as high as $119.99 per month for unlimited minutes, unlimited data and — curiously — rollover minutes for your unlimited plan and 200 text messages. So if you use the iPhone 24/7 for the better part of each month, then yes, it's theoretically possible to spend $500 a month. But you're going to have to work at it.

Motorola Takes the Hit

When you got your iPhone, what model of mobile phone, if any, did it replace?

When you got your iPhone, what model of mobile phone, if any, did it replace
SOURCE: Rubicon Consulting Inc. Online survey of 460 iPhone owners in the U.S.. March 2008 percentages don not add up to 100 because of rounding.

Just 200 text messages? Isn't that kind of lame? It sure is. And the cost of additional texts is even worse: an extra $10 for an additional 1,300 texts, for a total of 1,500 texts, or another $20 for unlimited texts.

AT&T is a mega-evil company. I don't want to sign my soul away. Do you know that Verizon actually turned down the iPhone and then wrote a press release about it? The excuse was that Apple wanted too much control over its product, the pricing and the feature set, and Verizon officials didn't want to change the company's network just for a phone. AT&T had no problem with that arrangement, and even went out of its way to change the way its voice-mail system worked for iPhone. The result was Visual Voice Mail, one of the more popular iPhone features.

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